Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Hampden I AE300 crashed near Hostrup on 12/9-1941.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 106 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded ZN-?.
T/O 21:40 Coningsby OP: Rostock.

 

The outbound flight took AE300 across the North Sea, north of the island of Sylt, across Jylland and south over the Baltic to Rostock where the target was the U-boat pens.

Altitude was about 16.000 ft with a thin layer of clouds with gaps through which the crew could see the coastline and finally the target below.

The return journey would follow the same pattern in reverse.

After attacking the target the crew resumed their homeward journey heading north over the Baltic. The flight was beautiful with a bright moon. About 10-15 minutes after leaving the target area Wireless operator/ Mid upper gunner Philson noticed something that required his attention. With the captains permission he unplugged his intercom and temporary left his position. After about 30 seconds he returned to his position just in time to hear the Under gunner reporting an unidentified aircraft on a converging course beneath AE300. The captain changed course a few degrees and lost about 500 ft but that was too little, too late. Suddenly there was a explosion on the starboard wing and EA300 dived going down from 16000 ft to 6000 ft. AE300 continued in a westerly direction away from the scene of the attack to avoid a follow-up. When the captain finally leveled out and the crew took stock of the situation it became obvious that they could not reach England. The starboard engine was dead and they were losing fuel from the starboard wing tanks. Fortunately there was no fire. As they could not reach England and would not be able to take evasive action in case of yet another attack also heading for Sweden was ruled out.

In the meantime Philson had been sending “SOS” and telling base that the starboard engine was out. Their position was plotted to a position 50 miles off the island of Sylt.

It was decided to return to Denmark and abandon the aircraft.


The first to leave the aircraft was Sgt. Davies followed by Sgt. Felson and Sgt. Dunn.
The last man to leave was W/O Bannister.
At 03:25 AE300 crashed into a field belonging to farmer Herman Østergaard near Hostrup, 10 miles east north east of Vejle. When the crash was reported to the police a search for the flyers was stated. Apart from the Danish police, German soldiers from the Observation post “Lottrup” near Gramrode and from FLUKO Vejle under the command of Hauptman Evers and Leutnant Hase took part.

Air Gnr. Sgt Francis William Davies.
When jettisoning the escape door Air Gnr. Sgt. Danies lost part of a finger. The door and the finger were later found near Daugaard. He landed safely in parachute on the estate “Rohden” 5 km south west of the crash site, and walked around for about an hour before he knocked on a window at a house belonging to the estate.
A farm worker then took him to the main building where Proprietor Lüttichau and his wife took good care of him. He was placed in a bed. Proprietor Lüttichau then called the Danish police to inform them that an airman had arrived on the estate.
The police arrived, and Head of police Palle Højbye explained to Davies that they could not possibly help him to escape. Doctor Heegaard, Hedensted who had been called to take care of Davies finger, had him taken by ambulance to Hornsylt hospital to have the damaged finger bandaged. When that had been taken care of, he was taken to Vejle by the Germans.
He was sent to Dulag Luft and from there to Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf. At the end of war he was located in 357 Fallingbostel.

W/Op- Air Gnr. Sgt. James Alexander Summers Philson.
W/Op Sgt. James Alexander Summers Philson landed safely in parachute in a field to the south of Havlykke farm near Belle. He folded up his parachute and hid it in a fence and started moving to the south. At dawn he reached Vejle fjord and hid in some scrub. Here he spent the whole day of 12/9.
At night he started moving to the north east navigating by the help of the North Star.
When dawn arrived he came to the farm Røde Mølle and entered the barn and hid in the hayloft. Here he dug himself into the hay.
Sometime during Saturday 13/9 a police car arrived and Philson saw a policeman with a dog entering the farmhouse. Shortly after the policeman left again without searching the place. Late in the evening Philson left the barn and started walking.
Since he had started walking late he had not moved very far when dawn approached. He hid in the small Spilkjær forrest near the railroad between Hedensted and Daugaard. It was raining all day Sunday 14/9 and in the evening he followed the railroad to Daugaard. Here he hid for the day in some scrub to the north of the station and watched the trains. In the evening he walked over to some goods wagons and entered a wagon with a brake hut. Here he fell asleep hoping to go on a train ride. The hope vanished when a railwayman opened the door to unlock the brakes.
 

Philson at Daugaard Inn.

Philson was then at 10:45 on 16/9 taken to the Daugaard Inn for interrogation by the Danish police. He was given food and treated very well. Later the same day, when Philson was picked up by four Germans, a young maid put some cigarettes into Philsons hand but the German officer snatched them from him and threw them on the floor, saying, that they (the Germans) could provide the prisoner's needs. Philson was taken to the German HQ in Vejle where he was met by a very fat German Major.

After a day or two Philson was put in a car and taken to Flensburg airfield where he spent two days, then on to Dulag Luft in Oberursel near Frankfurt for interrogation. After a few days he was sent to Stalag VIIIB, Lambsdorf near Breslau.

After six months he switched identity with the Australian Sapper Oswald Wall to be able to go on a working party away from the camp. He managed to escape from the working party camp Laband together with John Payne (Believed to be Sgt J.F.Payne of 83 Sqn). They were on the run for 8 days before they were recaptured near Stenberwitz about 13 kilometers from Tropau and given two weeks in the cooler.

Early 1945 the prisoners of war were sent on a march away from the advancing Russian troops. Near Braunschweig Philson was liberated by the 9. American Division and a week later sent to England.

 

 


            (James Philson via Finn Helmuth Pedersen)

James Alexander Summers Philson

 

Navigator Sgt. R. J. Dunn.
Dunn landed in his parachute near the eastern part of Bredballe town, and hid the parachute and swimming jacket. He then started walking in a westerly direction. On 13/9 Dunn was arrested by a Danish policeman in Grejsdalen at 14:00 hours. He was handed over to the Germans, and sent to Germany the following day. After interrogation in Dulag Luft, he was sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and later to Stalag 357 Thorn. He returned to England after the war.

Pilot W/O Jack Arthur Bannister.
When Pilot W/O Jack Arthur Bannister left the plane, he struck the tailplane and fractured both legs and lost his boots. He managed to deploy his parachute and landed in a field outside Stouby belonging to Farmer Marinus Møller and passed out.
He was found 5 hours later by farm people. Due to Bannisters injuries the landowner called an ambulance and Bannister was taken to the hospital in Hornsylt where he was cared for by Dr. H. Thorborg and staff. When he arrived he meet Davies who was taken away under escort after having his finger bandaged.
After three weeks it was found necessary to amputate Bannisters right leg and Dr. Torborg managed to convince the German commander that Bannister should stay in Hornsylt instead of being moved to Vejle.
After the amputation one of Bannister`s boots was found. Luckily it turned out to be the left had boot. After four weeks in Hornsylt he was moved to the Military wing of the Hospital in Vejle where the Germans treated him very well. He had access to English books from Aarhus library and was even permitted to receive a visit from Miss Mejer from Hornsylt.
After four weeks in Vejle he was transferred to Schleswig Lazarett where he had a hard time. He was most relieved when he after nine weeks was moved to Stadt Rhoda in January 1942. From there on to Stalag IXC Bad Sulza/Mühlhausen and Stalag 344 Lamsdorf before he was repatriated in November 1943 due to his bad condition. He was sent to England via Sassnitz and Trelleborg, Göteborg, Sweden.



Sources: RL 19/453, LBUK, AS 36-41, OLCB, Philson via O. Kraul, Bannister, Ole Kraul.


 

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